National Handshake Day Date in the current year: June 27, 2024

National Handshake Day A handshake is one of the most widespread forms of greeting in the world, so it is not surprising that there is a holiday dedicated to it. National Handshake Day is celebrated annually on the last Thursday of June.

A handshake is a greeting or parting tradition in which two people grasp one of each other’s like hands. In most cases it is accompanied by a brief up-and-down movement of the clasped hands. Handshakes usually involve the right hand and are made with bare hands, but there some exceptions because, even though the handshake is a globally widespread tradition, customs surrounding it vary in different cultures.

The origins of the handshake are unclear. According to one theory, it originated in prehistoric times as a way to show peaceful intent, since you cannot shake someone’s hand while holding a weapon. Another theory suggests that the handshake originally symbolized commitment to a promise or oath, the clasped hands representing the sealing of a bond.

There is archaeological evidence of people shaking hands as early as the 9th century BC: an ancient Assyrian relief depicts a handshake between the Assyrian king Shalmaneser II and the Babylonian king Marduk-zakir-shumi I. Ancient art and texts show that the handshake was practiced in ancient Greece, the Etruscan civilization, and ancient Rome.

In the modern world, the handshake is an almost universally accepted sign of respect, equality, and trust. Situations that call for a handshake include greeting, parting, being introduced to someone, expressing gratitude, offering congratulations, and completing an agreement. In competitive sports and other competitive activities, competitors shake hands to demonstrate mutual respect and good sportsmanship.

As we’ve already mentioned, some cultures have specific customs surrounding handshakes. For example, in most cultures, men are more likely to shake hands than women, especially in informal situations. However, in the western world, it has become more common for women to shake hands with men in business situations, whereas in conservative Muslims societies handshakes between men and women are not encouraged. In some countries, there are expectations regarding who is supposed to initiate the handshake (men vs women, older people vs younger people, etc.).

National Handshake Day was founded in 2005 by Miryan Roddy of BRODYpro, a company that specializes in professional development and provides training, coaching and keynotes to government and corporate organizations and the nonprofit sector. The main goal of the holiday is to promote the role of the handshake in making a good first impression and building long-lasting professional and personal relationships.

There are many ways to celebrate National Handshake Day. You can learn more about the history of the handshake, handshake etiquette and common handshake customs around the world, perfect your handshake to make sure it’s neither too firm nor too weak, shake the hand of at least one parson that you wouldn’t have on any other day (and wish them a good day while you’re at it), come up with a unique handshake to share with your bestie, and post about the holiday on social media with the hashtags #NationalHandshakeDay and #HandshakeDay.

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National Handshake Day, unofficial holidays, observances in the US, handshake customs, handshake etiquette